Legendary soulman receives posthumous honor. We should
all do it the Sam Cooke Way.
Had he lived, Sam Cooke would
have turned 80-years-old in January of this year. His life and legacy
were celebrated with the naming of 36th Street, Chicago, Illinois as Sam Cooke Way last weekend on June 18.
The location of Sam Cooke Way in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood, is birthplace to some
most talented artists in music and the associated arts. It is where the Cooke
family settled after migrating from Clarksdale, Mississippi in the early
1930’s, initially residing at 3527 Cottage Grove Avenue and later moving to 724
E. 36th Street. Young Sam Cooke attended the neighborhood’s DoolittleElementary School and,
in 1948, graduated from Wendell Phillips High School.
The unveiling of the
new Sam Cooke Way street sign took place with the participation of
the office of 4th Ward Alderman Will Burns, 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell,
Sam Cooke’s younger brothers L.C. and David Cooke as well as other Cooke family
members, legendary radio personality and “Mayor of Bronzeville” Herb
Kent, Cook Country Commissioner Jerry Butler (himself a soul music
legend, who proclaimed June 18, 2011 as Sam Cooke Day in conjunction with the
street naming ceremony), and Chicago Blues Museum CEO Gregg Parker and well
over 400 Sam Cooke fans and fellow musicians.
[Photo credit: Stefanie Mielke]
Pictured above, from left: Gregg Parker/CEO
Chicago Blues Museum, LC Cooke (seated)/Sam Cooke’s brother, David Cooke, Sam’s
youngest brother and Jerry Blake, a childhood friend of the Cooke kids growing